I am a professor of Internal Medicine, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine; a member of the Sticht Center on Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention; the Hypertension and Vascular Research Center; the Center for Comparative Medicine Research; Comprehensive Cancer Center; co-leader of the Integrative Biology Core of the NIH-Wake Forest Baptist Health Claude D. Pepper Older American’s Independence Center; and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. I am also a member of the Neuroscience, Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences graduate programs. I have a long-standing commitment to educating and training undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. I have directed such courses as Advanced Physiology and Clinical Neurobiology and currently direct Neuroscience Readings and Directed Studies and contribute to Clinical Neuroscience.
I trained in internal medicine and neurology at the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine and in cell biophysics, physiology, and molecular medicine at the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. I have received funding from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Federation for Aging Research, and my research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the aging neuromuscular system have been supported continuously by the NIH/National Institute on Aging. I have served on several NIH grant review groups, including the Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Physiology (SMEP) study section and Cellular Mechanisms of Aging and Development (CMAD) study section. I have published more than 100 research articles, invited reviews, and book chapters.
I am a basic and translational scientist. I demonstrated that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) regulates the integrity of the neuromuscular junction and identified the molecular mechanisms underlying motoneuron-sympathetic neuron interaction. Whether age-dependent impaired SNS significantly accounts for skeletal muscle motor denervation and atrophy with aging is a current project in my laboratory. I also investigate the role of impaired sympathetic nervous system structure and function in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. I pioneer the field of central and peripheral nervous system regulation of physical performance and mobility. My experience in gene and protein expression regulation, immunohistochemistry, cell sorting, image analysis, electrophysiology, run-on transcription assay, chromatin-immunoprecipitation-sequencing, RNA-sequencing, and DNA methylation have been implemented in rodent models, non-human primates, and human cells and tissues.
Educational Program Involvement
Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology PhD
Program Research Interest: Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Cardiovascular Physiology and Hypertension, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro- and Behavioral Pharmacology, Cancer Therapeutics Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Lifespan Physiology.
Molecular Medicine and Translational Science PhD
Program Research Interest: Analytical approaches to molecular and cellular synthesis, structure and function, Genetics and gene regulation, Cell communications, Organ systems, Pathophysiology